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Giving up the day job

Do all woodworkers dream of quitting their day jobs to devote full time to woodworking pursuits? Probably not all, but I'm betting that a few reading this blog are thinking about it.

Woodshop News is a magazine primarily for professional woodworkers, but after working with the magazine for more than a decade I've learned that a significant amount of the readership is comprised of woodworkers not yet doing it as their sole means of income. Some are extremely advanced hobbyists still working other full-time jobs; others still do the day job and sell their work when they can; still others have cut back on their day-job hours as their woodworking begins to sell; and some are "almost there."

I know two guys in that latter category, both of whom have come a long way since I first "met" them. I profiled both for magazine articles a few years ago, and although both were in the very-serious-hobbyist stage at the time, they were beginning to sell their work. Since then, both have begun to sell a lot more.

Thomas Skaggs of Whitehaven Woodworks ( in Champaign, Ill., does studio furniture and is not only increasing his sales, but was recognized with a prestigious 2007 NICHE award. Alan Young of Woodward Woodworks ( in Ypsilanti, Mich., does traditional furniture and is also watching his commissions grow as quickly as his skills.

If their names sound familiar, there's a good reason – you've seen their names in comments to this blog, plus they're regular contributors to many woodworking forums. Check out their Web sites, and I guarantee you'll be impressed. I'm pleased to say "I knew them when," because they're both going places.

So my question to you is: Where are you going? If you're at that stage where you're beginning to see a transition in your woodworking from part-time, to most-of-the-time, tell me where you are in the process. Have you cut back on the day job yet? How are you juggling two careers? Have you set a date to take the plunge? What's been the biggest surprise (either pleasant or not) about transitioning over to becoming a professional woodworker?

I – and our readers – want to watch your progress.

Till next time,


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